NBC's coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics on South Korea is kicking it up a notch in terms of technology. This year, according to a report in Variety, NBC will broadcast more than 50 hours of coverage in virtual-reality and 360 video -- live to viewers in the United States. This is another step in NBC's attempt to digitize their coverage of the Olympic Games.
In 2016 NBC began live streaming their coverage on the NBC Olympics app allowing viewers to choose their own coverage live as the games were happening rather than stick to the pre-determined schedule on TV. In 2016, NBC also did some VR coverage, but only on delay.
Since then, both live streaming and VR have become much more accessible to people and have grown in popularity and NBC is showing (albeit surprising) that it wants to keep up with "new" media. This technology and the Olympics is a pair that makes sense. First, live streaming. There are a lot of different events to broadcast and only so many television hours to put it on. With live streaming they are able to show every event in real time (which is a big deal considering the Olympics are basically 12 hours ahead of the US) as the viewer likes. Live streaming allows the viewer to be in control. Not everyone may like curling, but for those who want to watch every round, they can. Similarly, VR is an amazing tool for the Olympics. They are in fact an immersive event, and putting the viewer right in the action is very exciting.
What does this mean for you as a video producer. Well mainly it means that you can watch the Olympics in a new and exciting way (which is exciting in its own right) but more importantly, this is a sign of live streaming and VR continuing to penetrate the mainstream.